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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son.

Click here to watch a segment of the Motherhood Manifesto documentary to learn more about Selena's story and why we all need access to paid family and medical leave.

Know the Facts

  • Right now only 13 (!!!) percent of Americans have access to paid family leave through their employer and only 37% have personal medical leave provided through an employer.
  • Although the current Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows some employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave, it only covers about 60 percent of employees.
  • A quarter of all poverty spells in the United States are because of having a baby.
  • The U.S is one of the only countries in the world that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).
  • Paid leave improves worker retention, which saves employers money through reduced turnover cost.

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

The High Cost of Being Poor in Your State

Posted October 18, 2016 by Lecia Imbery

Check out this great piece by Ana-Elisa Gentle, the Coalition on Human Needs' intern, on the work state partners are doing to spread the word about the need for effective anti-poverty programs.  In the wake of the September release of the 2015 Census Bureau data on poverty, the Coalition on Human Needs put out a [...]

Trick or Treat! #PaidLeave4DC

Posted October 17, 2016 by Sara Alcid

This fall, more than just the leaves on DC trees are going to change. The leaves that working families take from work to fight cancer, take care of a newborn, or care for an aging parent are overdue for change – they need to be PAID!   The DC Council is back in session, the [...]

My Letter from President Obama

Posted October 12, 2016 by Bobbie Crawford

My name is Bobbie and in 2015 I wrote President Obama a letter thanking him for his executive order that gave all federal contracted workers 7 days of paid sick days. While I am not in that group, I know it's a small step towards getting paid sick days and paid leave into the private [...]

My Personal Story: Why President Obama's Executive Order on Paid Sick Days Will Boost Families

Posted October 4, 2016 by Katy Strub

Last week was historic for hundreds of thousands of working families. The U.S. Department of Labor finalized President Obama’s Executive Order on paid sick days, ensuring access to paid sick leave for over one million people working on federal contracts. As a former federal contractor without the ability to earn paid sick days, I know [...]

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